How to draw an idea?

I was working on a pretty personal project this week, and for one of the pieces I was trying to illustrate an idea as an idea, experimenting with using the image of a horse as a visual metaphor. I find them really difficult to draw--I never was much of a horse girl, though I did try to pose as one by choosing horse wallpaper when we redecorated my room in third grade (which stayed up, unfortunately, until tenth). The difficulty in rendering them for me has become sort of the point of the piece, along with the fact that as creatures they embody all these relevant characteristics: they're hulking and fast yet easily spooked and fragile; they were and in some contexts still are our vehicles and our engines.

I find it much easier to draw if I put some blobs down first, and I quite like how these sketches turned out.  But the project was killed, so for now they're experiments and future reference, should I decide to finish this on my own.


New print available! Ink Bertoia-style chairs

I made this ink drawing of Bertoia chairs from the MOMA sculpture garden when I was staying in New York for an illustration residency last summer. I've gotten a lot of requests to make this available as a print, so it's now for sale in my shop!


Graduation Announcement Design

{detail of the front}

A lovely lady I know just graduated from UC Berkeley in December, and I had the opportunity to design these sweet graduation announcements for her. Here is a detail from the front--among the design elements she requested, she wanted her little Boston terrier Dottie, her lifelong companion, to be featured.

I hand-lettered the back in watercolor based on the Barocca Monograms and Bookeyed fonts from Tart Workshop. I tried to talk her out of a portrait because I thought it was too much for our time constraints and budget, but I ended up doing a little one of her anyway. Portraits really are what I'm best at and are so fun, so it was a great addition. Besides, look how cute she is! Anyway, I know how proud she must be of this achievement. I know firsthand how top-notch Berkeley is and how rigorous the English department, being a card-carrying UCB English major myself. (Now she can grow up to be an artist.) Congrats, Danica!

{detail of the back}


New additions for the bookshelf!

{The Best American Comics 2011  edited by Alison Bechdel, and Heads or Tails by Lilli Carre}
Had a lovely late drizzly morning in North Beach down the hill from my nest today after a very, very late night at the Loma Prieta/Comadre show at Sub/Mission. Sent off a manuscript I just finished editing at the post office, brioche French toast at one of my favorite places to grab breakfast (15 Romolo), a stop for coffee at the new cute place on Columbus (Beacon), and then to my favorite bookstore (City Lights) for some new additions to my bookshelf! I'm looking for some sequential art inspiration for the comics project I'm about to start. Lilli Carre seems to have a broad range of styles, so I'm excited to page through her Heads or Tails. There's a 2012 version of The Best American Comics out now, but I love Jillian Tamaki, so I opted for the 2011 edition, which features her cover. I asked the clerk if they had Native Trees of Canada by Leanne Shapton, which I was really in the market for, and he responded that they "don't have anything that specific." What? Aren't all specific books just that, specific? This means I'll have to buy it online, and me being on Amazon is like a dog who has unlimited, unsupervised access to a spilled bag of kibble and eats until he barfs. Well, when I receive the four books I just ordered, I'll share those, too.